RoyaumeFrance: a seven year project

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In the summer of 1977, just out of high school, I stood before the statue of Ste. Jehanne d’Arc outside the chapel door at the French island fortress of Mont Saint-Michel near the border between Normandy and Brittany. I had no idea at that time the impact this young warrior saint would have on my life many years down the road. Naively, I shrugged and ran to catch up with my student group. We were on our way home after a six week cultural studies stay in Brittany.

Ste. Jehanne’s impact first struck me consciously on July 17, 2006, the day, in 1429, that she led Charles VII to his crowning as the King of France at the cathedral in Rheims. On that day the chains of Hell dropped from me as they had from France centuries earlier, chains that had held me bound for a quarter of a century. I was a free man. Our Lady gave me one command with which to carry forward: “Seek first the Kingdom.” That is what I did.

Jeanne Mont Saint Michel

In October of 2008, while seeking this Kingdom, Ste. Thérèse de l’Enfant Jésus’ poem about Ste. Jehanne d’Arc inflamed my soul in an unmistakable signal grace with what appears to be an eternally burning flame of love and devotion for the French warrior, and one that continually transforms the substance of my soul into that person who Our Lord Jesus Christ and the most holy Virgin Mary desire I be. This flame is nothing less than the fire of the Holy Spirit through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and it draws me into the communion of saints as Christ draws all things to Himself.

This flame of divine love began in the year 1984 when Our Lady called me to the Catholic Church as I listened to the prayer of the Hail Mary. On the Feast Day of Ste. Thérèse that year (October 1, 1984), the young French Carmelite saint from Normandy completed this quickly developing process of conversion to the Catholic Faith through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I understood on that day the true nature of the Catholic Church and, most importantly, the true nature of the Eucharist as the real and substantial Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Our Lady of the Sign

Not long after my conversion, on July 16, 1986, I consecrated myself as a slave to the most blessed Virgin Mary according to the method of St. Louis Marie de Montfort, the great Marian saint who preached and revived the faith throughout Brittany and Normandy France in the 18th century. Nearly twenty-two years later, on the Feast of Annunciation in 2008, I renewed that consecration to Our Lady at her chapel inside the Cathedral of King St. Louis in St. Louis, Missouri.

In October of 2008, just prior to my moment of grace through the intercession of Ste. Thérèse, Our Lady invited me to write what it was that I had always wanted to say. That was the beginning, followed quickly by my newly enraptured Jehannian heart, of the development of RoyaumeFrance.

This is the backdrop for RoyaumeFrance, a project in developing a spiritual architecture that expresses my consecration to the Virgin Mary through my love and devotion for Traditional French Catholicism and the Renaissance of Catholic France in the friendship and sisterly care of Ste. Jehanne d’Arc and Ste. Thérèse de l’Enfant Jesus.

Joan and Therese cloud Royaume France